As every year, the JKU and the Kaiserschild Foundation honored academic work by graduating high school students.
In cooperation with the Kaiserschild Foundation, the Johannes Kepler University Linz presented graduating high school students with the Dr. Hans Riegel Awards in recognition of outstanding pre-academic work. This year, a jury of experts reviewed and evaluated over 55 papers submitted by graduating AHS students.
For the 12th year in a row, awards were presented to the top three papers in the subject areas of chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology, and computer science. The awards were accompanied by prize money in the total amount of € 5,800. High school graduates from all over Upper Austria were eligible to submit their pre-acadmic papers and once again, students delivered outstanding results.
This year’s jury presented the award to a total of fourteen students, six girls and eight boys. The gifted students focused on various topics such as “deepfakes”, artificial intelligence, graph theory, cryptography, geometry, photosynthesis, the effect of antibiotics and their extraction from plants, ancient medicine, and oxidative stress. In addition, the young researchers focused on quantum physics, the antimicrobial properties of copper coatings, and photovoltaic systems.
Sparking Young People’s Enthusiasm for Research
Prof. Kurt Schlacher, Dean at the JKU’s Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences, remarked: "Even COVID-19 could not stop the participants’ enthusiasm to take part in the 2022 Dr. Hans Riegel Awards. The awards are presented in recognition of outstanding pre-academic work in STEM subjects, including biology, chemistry, physics, computer sciences, and mathematics. The winning papers explore scientific questions and are approached using very sophisticated methods. Understanding and evidence-based action is one of the cornerstones of thriving in a pluralistic, open and tolerant society. We need engaged, hard-working, and critical school students and students who are able to think in a scientifically rational, knowledge-based way for the benefit of everyone. We would be happy to welcome all of the participants as future students at the JKU’s Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences!"
The Kaiserschild Foundation is committed providing support to young people, particularly in STEM subject areas. The Dr. Hans Riegel Awards are intended to encourage gifted young students to pursue a degree or a career in the areas of natural sciences or engineering. In addition, the awards represent a link between schools and the university by supporting interaction and introducing the winning students to the university system at an early age. Prof. Markus Achatz, a board member at the Kaiserschild Foundation, added: "The Kaiserschild Foundation presents the Dr. Hans Riegel Awards to recognize outstanding pre-academic work as well as encourage high school graduates to pursue a career in a STEM field. In addition, they receive supporting opportunities during their studies, such as invitations to events or special seminars, as well as access to national networking opportunities."
Experimentation and Critical Analysis
Once again, this year’s students had an opportunity to present their research findings to an academic panel of university faculty members. The award criteria not only included compiling and expressing textbook understanding of the subject, but above all the students' experimentation and a critical examination of their hands-on experiments.
The awards for each subject area are accompanied with € 600 for first place, € 400 for second place, and € 200 for third place. In addition, the first-place winners’ schools received a non-cash prize of around € 250 in recognition of the respective teacher’s supervisory role.
The winners in the individual categories:
- 1st place: Gabriel Pflügl, Bischöflichen Gymnasium Petrinum: „Grundlagen der fraktalen Geometrie anhand ausgewählter Beispiele“
- 2nd place: Kevin Untersmeier, Gymnasium Dachsberg: „Graphentheorie: Konzepte und Anwendungen“
- 3rd place: Tim Oberdammer, BG/BRG Bad Ischl: „Moderne Verfahren und Anwendungen der Kryptographie“
- 1st place: Anja Piecuch, WRG der Franziskanerinnen in Wels: „Wie Erkenntnisse aus der Quantenphysik die Computertechnik revolutionieren“
- 2nd place: Jakob Elias Danner, Europagymnasium Auhof: „Aufbau und Funktionsweise von netzgekoppelten Photovoltaikanlagen für private Haushalte”
- 3rd place: Jakob Seelmaier, BG/BRG Wels, Brucknerstraße: „Antimikrobielle Eigenschaften von Kupferbeschichtungen und deren Abscheidung und Analyse durch AC Magnetron Sputtern“
- 1st place: Julia Buchgeher, RG des Schulvereins Aloisianum: „Wirkung von Antibiotika und ihre Gewinnung aus Pflanzen“
- 2nd place: Ines Leeb, BG Linz, Raumsauerstraße: „Die künstliche Photosynthese am Beispiel der Grätzelzelle“
- 3rd place: Kristin Bayer, BRG Schloss Wagrain: „Gesundheitsgefährdung durch Wasservögel am Vöcklabrucker Stadtteich - chemische Wasseranalyse“
- 1st place: Benjamin Müller, BRG Linz, Khevenhüllerstraße: „Deepfakes und ihr Einfluss auf die Filmindustrie“
- 2nd place: Timo Prömer, Stiftsgymnasium Schlierbach: „Künstliche Intelligenz und deren Anwendung in Computerspielen“
- 1st place: Paul Clodi, LISA International School: "Glucose Excursions after Ingestion of Different Foods and the Effect of Exercise on These Values”
- 2nd place: Marie Preysing, BG/BRG Gmunden: „Die antike Heilkunde im Vergleich mit der heutigen Medizin am Beispiel von Kamille und Kümmel“
- 3rd place: Lena Maria Stellnberger, BG/BRG Freistadt: „Oxidativer Stress - physiologische Schlüsselfaktoren zur Prävention“